The Lemur Conservation Foundation helps conserve lemurs through managed breeding programs, outreach, and on-the-ground conservation.
Saving lemurs through managed breeding programs, educational outreach, and on-the-ground conservation efforts.
The Lemur Conservation Foundation (LCF) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the preservation and conservation of the primates of Madagascar through managed breeding, scientific research, and education. The foundation and accompanying lemur reserve focus on fostering natural lemur behavior to encourage a dynamic population.
LCF supports educational programs started by the late Dr. Alison Jolly in Madagascar and is developing content to bring those programs to classrooms in the United States. In addition, LCF provides financial support to assist in the establishment of a tourist and research camp in Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve in northeast Madagascar, home to the elusive silky sifaka and a unique population of indri with black pelage.
What lemurs does the Lemur Conservation Foundation protect?
At their reserve in Florida, the Lemur Conservation Foundation is home to over 45 lemurs of six different species, most of which are critically endangered or endangered. LCF is a Certified Related Facility with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and participates in their Species Survival Plans which work to maintain a genetic safety net for a variety of lemur species. The species currently housed at the reserve are:
- Collared lemurs (Eulemur collaris)
- Mongoose lemur (Eulemur mongoz)
- Sanford’s lemur (Eulemur sanfordi)
- Common brown lemurs (Eulemur fulvus)
- Red ruffed lemurs (Varecia rubra)
- Ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta)
How is the Lemur Conservation Foundation protecting habitat for lemur conservation?
Lemur Conservation Foundation is supporting projects in Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve (ASSR), a large mountainous rainforest in northeastern Madagascar, which has long been recognized as a lemur priority site that has received little attention. LCF has partnered with the Madagascar National Parks to provide boundary demarcations for this protected area and is working towards developing a site called Camp Indri into a functioning base camp for tourists and researchers. At least 11 lemur species are found here including:
- Indri (Indri indri)
- Silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus)
- Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)
- Mittermeier’s mouse lemurs (Microcebus mittermeieri)
- Northern bamboo lemur (Hapalemur occidentalis)
LCF also collaborates with École Normale Supérieure (ENS), the teachers’ training arm of the University of Antananarivo. This partnership supports the students of ENS in their field research and field work theses at the Berenty Reserve, a private wildlife reserve in southern Madagascar. Research done at Berenty includes lemur census surveys and plant phenology.
Helping lemurs in captivity
The Lemur Conservation Foundation operates a 100 acre reserve in Myakka City, Florida. The reserve is set up with two semi free-ranging forests, each approximately ten acres, and two traditional enclosure buildings. As a Certified Related Facility with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, LCF participates in the Eulemur Species Survival Plan (SSP), Ruffed Lemur SSP, and Ring-tailed Lemur SSP, which include a global network of institutions working towards the propagation of selected lemur species in order to ensure the healthy existence of those species whose survival is in peril.
LCF also hosts field training programs, in which professors and their students utilize the facility and the lemur colony for behavioral observations and research on social dynamics and cognitive skills, as well as habitat use and food selection. These training programs produce future primatologists and conservation biologists which will carry the conservation imperative forward for lemurs and other endangered species and fostering and inspiring conservation based careers is an invaluable part of LCF’s mission.
Partnering with local communities
LCF has the pleasure of continuing on Dr. Alison Jolly’s legacy with the Ako Project, in collaboration with Dr. Hanta Rasamimanana, Dr. Jolly’s former colleague, professor at ENS, and Madagascar’s “Lemur Lady”. The Ako Project, sponsored by EnviroKidz, is an educational children’s book series, translated in both English and Malagasy, which is intended to teach Malagasy children about different species of lemur in a fun, tangible way. The books come with matching curriculum to help teachers convey the conservation themes and concepts envisioned for the stories.
Hazo Tokana Tsy Mba Ala undertakes research and reforestation efforts in northern Madagascar.
Supporting lemur conservation through research and reforestation
Hazo Tokana Tsy Mba Ala (HTTMA) is a recently founded association which aims to develop reforestation and forest management projects in northern Madagascar. The organization is registered in France but supports and facilitates actions undertaken by its sister association – which goes by the same name – in northeast Madagascar. Their pilot study will set up a foundation for the establishment of forest management activities in their target regions, by using a three-pronged approach: 1) increasing ecological, zoological and botanical knowledge of the area; 2) initiating reforestation programs; and 3) ensuring community-based conservation programs to conserve existing forest fragments.
What lemur species does HTTMA protect?
- Crowned lemurs (Eulemur coronatus)
- Fork-marked lemurs (Phaner sp.)
- Mouse lemurs (Microcebus sp.)
- Sanford’s brown lemur (Eulemur sanfordi)
- Sportive lemurs (Lepilemur sp.)
Together with Malagasy scientists trained at universities in Mahajanga and Antsiranana, the organization will undertake some of the first ecological assessments of their two focal forests. This means describing the area’s lemurs, animals, and plants, as well as the anthropogenic threats facing these ecosystems, including deforestation. The area has rarely been visited by scientists and taxonomists, and will help defining new priority areas for conservation and reforestation.
How does HTTMA protect habitat for lemur conservation?
HTTMA currently undertakes work in two forests in northeastern Madagascar: Analalava and Ambohitrandrina. In addition, the association aims to extend its work to other neighboring areas once they’ve established sustainable programs in their current project sites. To help increase the effectiveness of their work, they combine ecological research and surveys of both animals and plants. Looking forward, the organization aims to set up a tree nursery, collect seeds, and grow and 10,000 plant trees; the total impact for their pilot project will be to reforest 5 hectares of degraded habitat.
Partnering with Local Communities
HTTMA work involves local communities in order to lay the foundation of a sustainable reforestation/forest management project in the two forests where they currently work. Specifically, they are developing activities that supplement their ecological work that include: 1) capacity building, 2) alternative livelihoods, and 3) local social development.
In terms of receiving local input on their activities, the organization has worked together with communities to discuss and write the organization’s conservation and reforestation road map. In addition, their activities will create at least five temporary jobs (8+ months of employment each) as well as one, full-time position for a local graduate student who will act as a coordinator of the organization’s activities. The organization will also train members of the local community to enhance their knowledge in biology, ecology, and conservation, including hired guides, reforestation technicians, and students.